Is It Safe To Eat Hot Dogs During Pregnancy?

Hot Dogs During Pregnancy

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Are you pregnant and do you happen to love hot dogs? Have you heard a few warnings about eating hot dogs during pregnancy? Do these warnings worry you? If you can relate to these questions, consider reading our post here.

Summer means family vacations, barbecues, gatherings and of course basketball games! Can you guess what is common to all these summer activities? Yes, you guessed it right! It’s hot dogs! Nothing can beat a grilled hotdog at a summertime picnic. But is it safe to eat hot dogs when you are carrying a baby? Read on to know more!

Is It Safe To Eat Hot Dogs During Pregnancy?

As a pregnant mom, you need to be extra cautious about your diet and nutritional intake. Physicians also advise expectant moms to steer clear of ready to eat meals and processed foods due to the possibility of harmful bacteria in it. Hot dog is one such processed food. So do you need to avoid eating it completely during pregnancy? Well, not really! All you need to do is follow some guidelines, and you should be fine. But, speak to your doctor before you think about including hot dogs in your pregnancy diet.

Risk Associated With Hot Dogs:

1. Listeria Monocytogenes:

One of the primary risks of precooked meat is the possibility of microorganism and bacteria. Listeria monocytogenes is a genus of bacteria that is common in soft cheeses, cold cuts, and cured meats. The bacterium can lead to Listeriosis, an infection that causes flu and gastrointestinal distress. Pregnant women are easily susceptible to Listeriosis, or anyone with a weak immune system. Listeriosis is quite dangerous during pregnancy as it can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, infection, and stillbirth.

Symptoms Of Listeriosis:

The symptoms of listeriosis include:

  • Fever
  • Incessant cough
  • Dehydration
  • Stomach ache

2. Sodium Nitrate:

Another concern with the hot dog is the presence of sodium nitrate in it. Sodium nitrate is a compound that we use as a food preservative to extend the shelf life of the food and enhance its color. As a preservative, sodium nitrate prevents the formation of bacteria like Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes. But sodium nitrate is not safe. Excessive consumption of sodium nitrate can damage the blood vessels, increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.

3. Contains Sodium:

Hot dogs contain a high amount of sodium. Yes, the recommended dietary allowance for sodium is slightly higher during pregnancy. However, try and consume natural foods that are rich in sodium. Don’t indulge in foods that contain far too much sodium. Sodium is not only bad for the heart but for pregnant moms, it can lead to complications and birth defects in the unborn baby.

4. Quality:

When you eat a hot dog of the cart, you are asking for trouble. It is street food, and it has many health risks. Contamination, artificial chemicals, the list goes on. You never know what went into making that hot dog. So, the quality of the food is one major risk associated with the consumption of hot dogs.

5. Sensitivity To Ingredients:

Another issue with hot dogs is the use of ingredients like spices and cheese. Sometimes, your pregnant body may reject that mustard you were so fond of, or you may feel like adding some extra ketchup. All of this is normal, but studies conclude that the inclusion of ingredients like spices and certain types of cheese can lead to complications. You may develop sensitivity to certain spices during the 9-month term. Consuming cheese can lead to allergic reactions like flatulence and bloat your stomach, a distress for many women during pregnancy.

How To Destroy Listeria Monocytogenes?

The risk of listeriosis is greatest in uncooked deli meat. So to destroy Listeria monocytogenes, you must heat it well. Cook hot dogs at a high temperature, (above 160 degrees Fahrenheit), to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes or any other bacteria. If not heated, the bacteria will continue to thrive. Whether you are grilling, boiling or microwaving your hot dog, make sure it is steaming hot. Do not allow the hot dogs to become cold, as it will increase the risk of further contamination.


We understand you’re crazy for hot dogs, so we also have some alternatives for you. To avoid the risk associated with nitrates and bacteria, you can go to meat-free hot dogs that exist in the market. These hot dogs contain grains, vegetables, and soy. These meat-free hot dogs are also low in fat and cholesterol. And, what’s more, they taste like the real thing, well almost!

Guidelines For Eating Hot Dogs During Pregnancy:

If you follow some guidelines for eating hot dogs during pregnancy, you should be fine. Here are some guidelines for your benefit:

  • Don’t eat hot dogs on the streets or any other places where the sausages and buns are just lazily spinning around the heat rollers. These hot dogs pose a serious risk of contamination. Even the water in which they heat them is below 160 degrees in Fahrenheit. And the cheese can harm you if not pasteurized. Feta, Bleu Cheese, Roquefort and Mexican-style cheeses are often not pasteurized and are unsafe for to-be mothers.
  • Packaged hot dogs are rich in nitrates. The local health food stores sell nitrate-free turkey and hot dogs. But you cannot rule out the possibility of contamination. So we would advise you to prepare hot dog at home. It will be a lot safer. At least you will be sure of the ingredients you use in your favorite snack.
  • Although hot dogs are safe to consume during pregnancy, they are not the healthiest food to eat on a regular basis. A beef hot dog contains about 7 grams of protein and a whopping 200calories, 12 grams of fat and 500mg of protein. We would suggest you to go for meat-free hot dogs as they are safer and healthier.

So you don’t have to curb your cravings anymore! Go ahead and enjoy your treat!

Did you eat hot dogs during pregnancy? Did you consult your doctor before eating hot dogs? If yes, then what did he suggest? Tell us in the comment section below.

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